rates that are consistently 10 points below white young women. In 2004 the rates of illicit drug use are 23 percent for white, 16 percent for Hispanic, and 13 percent for black young women.
What is the evidence on the relationship between substance abuse and military performance? The primary outcome for evaluating moral character standards has been attrition rates. Since serious substance abusers are ineligible for enlistment in the first place (e.g., chronic alcoholism, dependence on illicit drugs), the main question here concerns waivers granted for less serious forms of substance abuse as outlined in Table 7-1. Since occasional use of marijuana no longer requires waivers, we are restricted to evaluating attrition for enlistees who enter with some type of drug or alcohol waiver.
Attrition rates for all major waiver categories were obtained from the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) for fiscal year (FY) 2000 through FY 2003 (see the tables in Appendix B for the full attrition analysis). Waiver categories are distinguished for alcohol abuse only, marijuana use only, both drugs and alcohol, and illicit drugs other than marijuana. We combined the marijuana category with the drug and alcohol category (which had small numbers) and requested 12-, 24-, and 36-month attrition rates.
We found that in recent years the Services have granted very few waivers for alcohol abuse alone or other illicit drugs alone. For the past several years, fewer than 76 persons each year entered with alcohol abuse waivers, and only about 100 had waivers for illicit drug use other than marijuana. The very small number of waivers means that attrition rates cannot be reliably measured; therefore, the impact of these two behaviors on attrition rates was not evaluated for these two categories. Regardless of attrition, the number of waivers is so small that there is no reason to change enlistment standards for these two conditions and no reason to consider the effectiveness of in-service treatment programs. In effect, the Services accept very few individuals who test positive for alcohol or illicit drugs other than marijuana.
As mentioned earlier, no waiver is required for persons reporting limited marijuana use before entry and the drug test is negative at the physical examination. However, a substantial number of waivers are